Review by alkalinetrio000

"The 360 First Killer App."

This game is truly the first killer app. For the 360 despite a few hang ups. Let me get the negative points out of the way up front. What you have heard is true, there is no auto save and you only get one save per storage device or per profile, but you can save over that as many times as you want. The up side is there are restrooms all over the mall, so you are never far from a save point. Also the in game text is small, very small. This has no upside unless you have a HDTV somewhere in the 30-inch plus range. This can be a major source of frustration as many of the game's missions are given to you in text only form. This is just a lazy mistake on Capcom's part and the best we can do is hope for a patch.

Ok now that's out of the way let me get to the good stuff because there is a lot of it. I'm sure by now you're familiar with the basic story, town over run by zombies, Frank West freelance reporter flies in to cover the story of his career and gets trapped in the town's shopping mall. But trust me there is a lot more going on in the story then that.

Being a photojournalist Frank is going to cover this story the best way he knows how, with his camera. This pays right into Dead Rising RPG like leveling system. Sure you're going to get some points for mowing down zombies but the lion's share will come from taking photos. This feels totally right in this game. If you don't want to take any photos then you are more than free not to. There are no moments of “Hey take a picture of this obviously staged thing” action and drama is happening all around you all time. The better your shots the more points you get and this works much better then you think it would. Subtle things will make all the difference in your shots, get a picture of a panicked man looking for his wife and you'll get some good point but frame that same shot to focus on his face get even more, zoom in and catch him as he wipes his forehead so you can see his wedding you'll more then cash in.

The action in Dead Rising hits the ground running and never lets off. From the first moments when the zombies brake in you are on the go. You can pick up almost anything and smash, knock down, or cut the zombie hordes to ribbons. This system is pulled off almost perfectly. The items you pick up act and sound right. Get a park bench and sort of perform a awkward lunge attack or better yet chuck it into a large mob, get a fry pan and you hear a very satisfying metal clunk each time cast iron meets zombie skull (made even better when you heat that pan up on a stove top). There is a lot of variety here so it's best to try out a lot off different items, just because something might seem like a useless plastic light saber toy at first can really become the best way to clear zombies off of the survivors you're escorting without killing the survivor yourself.

Heath is also easy to find but challenging to master. You can easily grab and apple or jug of OJ for a quick fix or try blending them for not only a full heal but some interesting side effects (try raw meat and yogurt!) or cook raw or frozen items to increase their effectiveness.

The game's missions run on a pretty tight schedule. Sure you don't have to anything, you can just sit in the security office for three days or run about mowing down zombies until your ride comes without ever doing a single mission. But if you want to get the most out of Dead Rising you better get on those mission and the clock is ticking. Unlike other open ended sandbox games like Grand Theft Auto the missions here are not going to wait around for you to take your sweet time, they are going to happen with or without you. You are given most mission via a walkie talkie manned by Otis the mall janitor. He sits and watches the mall camera and lets you know what's going on and where. From there it goes into your scoop queue. You are given a pretty generous amount of time to do your mission, especially the main story line, but it's always better to just run and get them done right away and save side missions for the lag time between the missions of the main story line. Your first time though the game you are going to have some pretty limited health and item slots, so it's best to just stick to the main story and let those side missions go.

One of the best features of the game is the ability to restart the game at your current level. Got to level 16 and find yourself thinking that it would be so easy to blow thought those early missions now? Well do it. Also anything you're wearing stays! So watch that opening movie in a serve bot helmet and children's clothes, why not!

Dead Rising isn't going to be everyone's thing. If you want something easy and fast then steer clear. This game is for the gamer who like to have something they can really sink their teeth into. With so much going on you'll gladly return to the mall over and over again.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/17/06

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